March 12, 2002
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Do I write hypertext?

Anders Fagerjord mentions Where are the hypertexts? and observes (March 7) that "Notably, Mark Bernstein himself doesn't write hypertext. He writes papers, slide shows and a blog. Even as he said himself, the trouble with blogs is that dates rarely are a good way of organising material."

This is a fair indictment, I think, but the matter is complicated. My Election of 1912, published in 1988, is now of purely historical interest but it's definitely a hypertext. Hypertext Gardens is a hypertext (and gets assigned in lots of Web writing courses). This web journal is itself pushing the envelope of weblog hypertextuality -- there's a lot of linkage and a lot of collage here, and there will soon be more -- while staying just inside the bounds of weblog convention. It's important that this page feel like a weblog -- perhaps a richer, linkier weblog, but a weblog nonetheless; the purpose here, after all, is to improve tools and techniques.

We're planning a Hypertext '02 panel on web logs, Wikis, and self-assembling hypertexts to explore issues raised by Web writing clusters, such as the Scripting News technojournalists and the Scandinavian media theory cluster. (Want to play? Write me) There's more going on here than links between documents.

Fagerjord quotes Aarseth on hypertext: "It's an ideology", he says. But partial differential equations work. So do French horns, and omelet pans, and game theory, and computers. Lots of people use none of these very effectively; some things take time, effort and practice.